Virginia Hopkins, who has been working at Johnny's Downtown Restaurant in Cleveland for 19 years, was expecting a refund of $754, but the check she received on Tuesday from the Internal Revenue Service was for $434,712, ABC News reported.
"I think I would have to work most of my life to earn that much money," she said. "Even with undeclared tips."
Hopkins said she decided to return the check to the Cleveland's IRS office the next day.
"Would you believe I had to give them a photo ID to prove it was me before I could give it back?" she said. "Otherwise they wouldn't even talk to me."
After she proved her identity, the IRS people were very polite, Hopkins said. They took the check and promised to thoroughly investigate the error.
Now, Hopkins said she is "readjusting" to life.
"It's not easy being poor after you've been rich," she joked.
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